NEW BEDFORD — For as long as Shane Poitras Jr. has been playing sports, a goal of his has been to play in college.
The GNB Voc-Tech senior just didn’t expect to play two sports at the next level.
Poitras Jr. recently signed to play both basketball and baseball next year at UMass Dartmouth.
“My main focus is basketball, but if I have the opportunity to play baseball, I’m going to,” said the 18-year-old from New Bedford. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity that I’ve worked for my whole life.
“It’s amazing. I’ve always wanted to play one sport in college and now that I have the opportunity to play two different sports in college, it shows me that my hard work paid off. I just have to be ready for it.”
Poitras Jr. first started playing t-ball at age four. Around the same time, he would play basketball at the park.
“I’ve always been an athletic kid,” he said. “I’ve always been playing sports.”
As he got more serious about basketball, Poitras Jr. began to work on different aspects of his game to become a more complete player by his senior year, where the South Coast Conference All-Star averaged 18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists per game while knocking down 17 3-pointers for GNB Voc-Tech.
“Shane made a difference from day one as a freshman, leading our team in 3-pointers all four years and finished in the SCC top 5 year after year,” said GNB Voc-Tech coach Jeff Wildrick. “I watched his game improve year after year as a result of working hard in the offseason, trying to improve his weaknesses.”
With a relentless work ethic, Poitras Jr. refuses to stop working on getting better.
“I haven’t taken a break,” he said. “I’ve always worked — even if it was just dribbling a ball. I’ve always been told to focus on getting better 1% every day and I’ve never focused on just that. I’ve always said, ‘10% or 20% better.’ I’ve always pushed myself hard enough to make myself eligible to play at the next level. It’s never going to stop. I’m always going to work hard.”
Poitras Jr. knows the work has just begun if he wants to contribute on the basketball court for the 2021 Little East Conference champion Corsairs.
“It’s an amazing program to be in,” he said. “You’ve got to fight for it and be grateful for it.
“I was told that they loved how I tried to become a complete player and develop over the years because they said they’ve been watching me over the years.”
While Poitras Jr. is able to knock down shots from long distance and penetrate the lane for easy layups, his focus for improvement will be on the defensive end.
“Defensively I know it’s going to be more competitive and I have to work harder to play at the next level,” he said, noting that he’ll play whatever position the UMD coaching staff wants. “Whatever helps the team.”
Wildrick said Poitras Jr.’s unselfishness stood out over the years at GNB Voc-Tech.
“Although he was in the top of the league in stats year after year, he really just wanted team success and didn’t focus on individual stats,” Wildrick said.
Former GNB Voc-Tech baseball coach Rick Avila was impressed with Poitras J athleticism when he coached him as a sophomore.
“He’s a good pitcher and he can play the field and he can hit,” Avila said. “I think he’s one of the top athletes in the area.
“He’s the type of person if he picked up a golf club, he’d be good at that. If he puts his mind on baseball, he can take that team to a different level.
“He’s a great kid. He’s a great athlete.”
Poitras Jr. said UMD was the right fit for him.
“When I toured it, I felt at home,” said Poitras Jr., who plans to study either economy or math. “Once I went to UMass, I said, ‘This is where I belong.’ I just felt comfortable.”